The boxing world has been turned on its head after Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr knocked out unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden.
Ruiz knocked down the previously undefeated Joshua four times, with the referee waving the fight off in the seventh round after Joshua failed to respond when asked “are you ready to box?”
Joshua looked to have the upper hand early in the third round when he knocked down Ruiz but the Mexican got straight up and returned the favour almost immediately.
The British fighter was dropped a second time in the third round before being knocked down twice more in the seventh.
Ruiz claimed the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBA belts in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history, becoming the first Mexican world heavyweight champion.
“I feel so good, man, this is what I’ve been dreaming about, this is what I’ve been working so hard for and I can’t believe my dreams just came true,” Ruiz said after the fight.
“Right now, I want to celebrate. I just made history.”
Ruiz was a late call-up for the bout after Jarrell Miller was denied a licence by the New York Athletic Commission after three failed tests for performance enhancing drugs. Ruiz was confirmed as Joshua’s opponent only a month before the bout.
He didn’t waste the opportunity and out-worked Joshua, throwing 119 power strikes to Joshua’s 72 and landing 39 to Joshua’s 23.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn said Joshua looked flat in the fight.
“AJ got sloppy … got sloppy, got caught,” Hearn said. “Now we’ll see what AJ is about.”
In the lead-up to the bout, Ruiz had spoken about it being an opportunity to take the belt he felt he had earned in his 2016 WBO title fight against Joseph Parker in Auckland. Ruiz lost by majority decision and Parker went on to lose the belt to Joshua in 2018.